What’s this about?

“What, if anything, do you know about Go Deep Fly High?”

I asked this question in my recent survey to my facebook followers – and the answers are unsurprisingly diverse.

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This is the question I keep asking myself.

To be honest, I was secretly hoping to find some answers in the survey. What I read in the answers was ‘nothing’, ‘not much really’, ‘something about inspiration’, ‘wonderful coaching’, ‘your heart’s project’…

The entrepreneurs and marketeers in and around me tell me to narrow my message down and ‘niche it out’ — be clear and be concise. 

I won’t do any of that in this post, I will be authentic and open and chatty – which is what my heart project is fundamentally about. Heart open and true to self.

Go Deep Fly High is my practice.

The expression of my purpose.

It’s my first book, and all the books after it.
It’s my personal development workshops that I design and run.
It’s hours and hours of individual coaching and processing with beautiful souls who want to see clearer and live fuller.
It is a yoga programme for adults, and one for kids… maybe also one for elders.
It’s a spiritual practice… with incense sticks, yoga mats, meditation, crystals, chanting and all the woowoo stuff that feels like home.
It’s a book club on those books I read and quote because they make so much sense to me.
It’s a bottomless repetition of those inspirational quotes and poems that have been going around for centuries
It’s a beautiful trauma recovery retreat space for all of us who need a raw out to heal and breathe for a bit. Just breathe again.
It’s a community of people coming together and having conversations that matter.
It’s storytelling; a growth environment and a curiosity-fed celebration of humour and learning.
It’s a travel agency that encourages those who want to be encouraged to climb that mountain, or take that midweek, mid-afternoon nap.
It’s a vegan lunch place and a garden café.
It’s a nature reserve bustling with butterflies and bees and wildflowers.
And it is an activist organisation doing its share on keeping fellow humans and all other species and plants safe and sound.

Go Deep Fly High is work in progress.

Connect to your core, live your purpose.

Who is it for? 

Oh ‘find your niche’ they keep saying, the marketeers and entrepreneur mentors, the experienced and the professionals. Be specific. Be clear. Be focussed.
And then be loud about it.

I’ve been working on defining ‘my niche’ for the past six years, believe it or not.
Who is my niche? Who do I work with?

I work with

The dreamers caged in the rational rut.

The idealists burned out in corporate suits.

The travellers stuck in one place.

The regular person living the regular life, with an inkling that regular isn’t quite enough.

Those of us for whom ‘everything is ok’ but somehow not really.

The mothers drowning in maternal bliss and exhaustion. 

The unmarried wives and the childless mothers who never imagined coming home to an empty house at the age of 42.

The lost, who want to be found. 

The busy, wanting time. 

The stressed, wanting calm. 

The leader, wanting to be heard.

The follower, wanting to stand in authenticity. 

The hurt, wanting to heal.

The passionate whose fire is burning low.

The creative, craving expression.

The pacifist, who wants to stand up for themselves without hurting others. 

The heartbroken, wanting to let go of what not longer is. 

The disillusioned, who wants to fathom the courage to start over. 

My niche could be any of these as I am all of these, apart from the enchanted exhausted mother. My story fits into all these descriptions in one way or the other, which makes me compassionate and passionate about us all. 

I work with ‘wanters’ like myself, people who want, yearn, dream, desire, and who are excited about taking steps towards their want, and who are willing to navigate the rough and wild seas and side roads of the unplannable journeys ahead with curiosity and open-hearts.

Hearts at peace.

That was my, what they called, stake in my leadership bootcamp back in 2013. After 10 months training and going inward, with 4 weeks of in-person retreats, my stake, relating to my life purpose (yes, we work on those in my field of practice) boiled down to:
“Hearts at peace. Hearts at peace can’t fathom hurting themselves, each other or the home planet and its fellow inhabitants.”

So who am I and what makes me Go Deep and Fly High? 

I’m the regular and privileged 40-something who believes in steering the sails of her life’s ship herself, and whose ship has not found that home harbour yet.
I’ve learned that sailing is a doddle and a dream on smooth weather days, and that it is close to a battle of surrender and courage when the seas are stormy and harsh.

I was doing it all, life, the right way with a good dose of revolt and resistance all along. I grew up in a nice family with its family stories, I went through classic schooling with satisfactory success and way too many questions and frustrations. I studied communications for management in Paris for lack of finding anything that sounded right to me at the age of 19. I was lucky enough to be able to interlace my life’s obligatory conditioned steps with sabbaticals and travels every now and then, which instantly became my actual and most rewarding studies.

And I finally, to everyone’s relief, got a proper job in 2002. I also got the car. The mortgages. The apartment. I got the big fridge to hold enough food to feed the family I was going to have.

The family never came, it just didn’t happen and those are other stories; then I went vegan and no longer needed the fridge at all. 

I no longer really needed any of it because I realised I was living the right life and doing the right things – alone – feeling unfulfilled. And utterly bored.

The good job had given me as much as it could; a tag in society, safety, something to do, income, learnings, friends, some successes, lots of experience and a burnout.

And then came my turning point

I got a rather painful professional asskick… and mid-air, with an instinct of soul survival of which I still don’t quite know where it came from, I decided to fly instead of fall. 

I hired a coach, I became a coach, I learned to be a yogi and a massage therapist and a group facilitator, I became a growth junkie. I met weird and amazing healers on my journeys through lessons and countries, and I got to meet: me. 

I am Laura.

I am passionate about living this life as we know it, to keep expanding our horizons in self awareness and relationship, and building on all the personal development strides we do: CLIMB THAT MOUNTAIN and make dreams come true.

It will always be a practice of surrender and courage, of leaning in and letting go – and I now know that it is a path we must each walk ourselves, but we needn’t walk alone. 

I join people on parts of their journey, and I bring with me a bag of stories, skills, delight and devotion.

Go Deep Fly High.

We are here for a split second, let’s live out loud and drop dead alive when we do.

My hero story

As part of a really beautiful and activating personal growth programme I’m about to complete, we were asked to tell our Hero’s Story.

To look back on my life and sieve for the situations in which I dared leave the usual, to step into an arena, to take risks, to believe in myself.

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Hero?

I spontaneously thought of a million examples in which I moved forward bravely, and I couldn’t come up with any grand one at the same time.

Thinking of my Hero story, I feel accomplished and like a failure simultaneously.

See, I have a dear faraway friend who is an army doctor and who rescues people from Mount Everest and in war zones and anywhere in between – and he is one of the most beautiful, smiley, warm, loving and humble people I have ever had the privilege and honour to cross paths with.
When I think of heroes, he comes to my mind and heart.

I don’t come to my mind or heart when I think of ‘hero’, but this exercise called me to do just that: find my own heroic stories.
Interesting, and for me therefore: food for thought and processing.

First, I looked up ‘hero’ in the oxford dictionary, just to make sure I got it:

Hero:

  1. A person who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.
  2. The chief male character in a book, play, or film, who is typically identified with good qualities, and with whom the reader is expected to sympathize
  3. (in mythology and folklore) a person of superhuman qualities and often semi-divine origin, in particular one whose exploits were the subject of ancient Greek myths.

Then there is also the Hero’s Journey, often mentioned, well-known and strived for by growth seeking folk, such as my ambitious self:

“A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.”

Some of my Hero’s Stories

OK, so let’s go about recognising myself on my path, and seeing a moment that required extra bravery and faith. A turning point moment, one of those moments that by saying yes, or no, and by taking brave conscious action, my path would be changed, and mainly, I would transformed in some way. I know this to be true: change comes from action, action comes from courage, courage comes from action… it’s a flow that is fun and scary to join!

You’ve got a voice to change a nation yet you’re biting your tongue

I spontaneously thought of that speech I made at my cousin’s wedding back in 2008.

Truthfully, it was more of a toast, but to me it could just have well been a Ted talk in an arena filled with millions.

My other cousin, the bride’s sister, had nudged me to make a speech – I was the maid of honour, and ‘it would be nice’, she’d said. I knew she was right, but the thought made me nauseous. See… this nudge came to me at a time when I would blush when I had to speak up at a meeting, or tell a story when everyone would listen (yes, even at family events) – heck, I’d blush at ‘hello’.
But: I did it! I wrote a speech, it took me days to write. Then I read it over and over again. I learned it by heart. I made my sister listen to it three times on our drive from the church to the venue. I barely spoke a word to anyone during the reception, refrained from drinking before the speech, and barely touched the starter course of the meal… And when the time came, I braced myself, walked up to the stage, took that microphone and… made my speech.

I know my toast was for the bride, really, but in my reality, this was a very selfish moment. While the words and sentiments were for her and her husband, the intention and act were for me. For my brave self. For my voice. For my standing. For my courage. And for all the opportunities I wanted to grab for myself. For not accepting my own beliefs that limited me. For busting the fears and self-judgement and all kinds of mental saboteur talk as to why I would be bad at this and nobody would want to hear me.

I stood there and spoke out loud for my own potential.

A huge added bonus was that people applauded and complimented me afterwards. And what do you know, it did boost my confidence, and since then, I have made more speeches, I tell my stories out loud, I speak into a microphone to hundreds of people in aeroplanes in my job as flight attendant, I deliver workshops to groups of people in my job as a coach – I have even given trainings to airline crew on how to make public addresses. Don’t get me wrong, it still stirs up my insides to think I am to make a speech or speak up in public, I’m not ready to go on TED (yet), but since that day in 2008: I know I can do it.

“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.”
Jack Kerouac

Or the Eiffel Tower. Or both. 

I’m afraid of heights.
That, too, is an understatement. And a lie.
This fear here is real. I feel heights, even the thought of heights, in my body. I remember the first time I walked over the Golden Gate bridge with my cousin (the bride, way before she met her husband), bravely going with her because she was a civil engineer student back then who loves bridges. It would have been wrong to not cross that bridge of all bridges with her.
I felt every single tiny vibration. Never mind being told by the expert that those vibrations needed to be see, the thing about a phobia is that the mind knows it is irrational, but somehow the body and heart feel unsafe.
So I entered a state of trance walking across it; like a mantra I told myself to just keep walking, while my skin felt like it was shrinking around my body, my tummy was on a rollercoaster and I just had this one desire which was to slowly kneel down and roll over into a side-lying child’s pose. But I kept walking, she took the photos. And I walked straight, without altering my speed or course. I vaguely remember couples having to separate to let me by – I don’t remember interacting with them in any way, though I may have.

Phobias take over the body. They also grow, and by growing they reduce our range of possibility slowly and surely. Unless… unless we meet them. We all know this.

Meet the fear, be with it;
and only then can you live with it, even move on from it.

And so it happened that one day, in 2014, I went up the Eiffel Tower.

I had lived in Paris for three years (15 years earlier) while studying there, two of those years with a view of the Eiffel Tower. I had brought all my guests to its feet and waved them off, peacefully waiting for them in the park below. I did enjoy lying in the Champ de Mars, and never felt any desire to go up that tower. But here, that day in autumn when I was visiting a very dear and entrusted friend, he surprised me by bringing me to the Eiffel Tower. As dear and entrusted as we were, he didn’t know of my fear of heights.
However in the meantime, I had been working with coaches and the likes on ‘stretching the comfort zone’ and growing beyond my limitations.

I realised immediately that I was presented, once again, with the opportunity to stay – or grow.

I remember briefing him on my needs (‘I need you to stay with me, but not talk to me, and for the love of all gods, make no funny jokes or swift movements!‘), and I remember him treating me to a thimble of overpriced champagne at the top.

From that day on, I’ve been going up things. Not enthusiastically seeking the experience, and still innerly negotiating the value of ‘going up’ versus ‘not going up’ (sometimes I don’t go up, more often, though, I do) and I meet this particular fear with a more informed opinion:

‘I’ve been up the Eiffel Tower, I’ve crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, I’ve had a meal on the CN Tower and I will no longer be told by fear that I can’t do it – if I don’t do it, it is because I don’t want to, that’s all!’.

 

Climb that goddamn tower and mountain, oh yes, do it!

time flies, best fill it with moments to remember

time flies, best fill it with moments to remember

In 2016 I climbed my own mountain in My Big Walk through Swedish Lapland – an act of courage that happened inadvertently and for which I still take the liberty of bathing in pride.
(you can read the stories in my other blog here: My Big Walk – lauraschummer.com).

We are everyday heroes, really.

The more I think of it, the more I see our everyday heroism.

Meeting someone new requires the courage to open up, even if only in politeness. Opening up to someone new and trusting that I’m safe, whatever happens, requires a certain amount of courage.

Surviving every single heartbreak is a heroic act. The fact of leaning in to the possibility of being loved or hurt is heroic to my mind.
Facing the hurt and letting it go (for some reason, that seems to have been the pattern in love for me so far, lean in – let go) is another heroic act.

Writing a personal blog post and publishing it to the world requires courage.

Joining a personal growth training does, too.

Asking myself the important questions in life, and being with the answers, even challenging them, takes courage.

It can be really hard to get up in the morning and trust the process, even when I don’t understand or even see it in periods of setbacks and downs.

Accepting that today may not feel like my day, and still believing in the power of presence in the moment, the power of pain and healing, the power of universal forces aligning, is an act of courage.

Every conscious step and every conscious pause can be seen as acts of courage.

Oh, we are all heroes when it comes to our own courage;

we are the hero of the story that is our life.

So how come it doesn’t feel like that?

Is being brave being a hero?

To me, there is one thing that stands out in what the Oxford English Dictionary definition says about ‘hero’:
A person who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.’ A hero is admired for their noble qualities. 

Essentially, to me, being a hero has always been hand-in-hand with an act of generosity, kindness and salvation towards others.

Like my army doctor friend, who is a hero to me because he saves lives in very dangerous, for him too, situations.

I always believed that, despite my acts of courage for myself, I will only be a hero when someone else gets to benefit from it. For some reason I have always seen that to happen in extreme situations, such as war zones, hospitals, tragedies, traumas, therapies and healings.
And since I have not yet had the courage to uproot and ‘go in’ to those situations, since I have not yet had the confidence to believe that I may have a skill that could actually benefit someone in distress, I have not yet seen myself as a hero.

However this exercise, the writing of these words, has helped me consider that we are, actually, heroes to each other. In our very every day life.

We are heroes, to each other, in our everyday life

I noticed a while ago, that whenever I have taken the courage to step outside the comfort zone, I was always, ALWAYS met at the gates by others cheering me on, and helping me forward.

We have allies everywhere, I believe every encounter we make can be an ally to us in some way (read my post Meandering about Wonderland on the different kinds of people we meet), and maybe being the ally to someone else’s courage or healing is what makes us a hero.

Whilst I needed to face my fear and scratch my slithers of courage together to make that wedding speech, it was my cousin who nudged me who is the actual hero of the story: she saw my potential, she believed in me, and she encouraged me in the right ways to be and stay brave whilst facing my demons. My cousin is the hero of my hero story.

And maybe,
maybe, I’m the hero to someone else’s courage?

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“Courage is more exhilarating than fear and in the long run it is easier. We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it is not as dreadful as it appeared, discovering we have the strength to stare it down.”- Eleanor Roosevelt, You Learn By Living (1960)

 

You’re a dreamer

Featured

Coaching and talk processing help me connect the dots of my experiences and learnings with meaningful threads. And connecting dots with threads turns individual moments into useful insights, The stories that make up my life.

Here’s a thread that came to me in a recent Points of You workshop.


“You’re a dreamer”

Many years ago, one of my first serious crushes told me that I was a ‘dreamer’, and he made it sound like it was a bad thing.

I was in my early twenties or late teens, somewhere in that general age blur, and I had just told him an idea I had for myself – about taking a time-out and accepting a student job in the faraway land of the US. I remember bubbling about it to him, excited at the prospect I had been offered.
And I remember him, disparagingly, replying:

‘You’re such a dreamer!’

The statement crushed me.

I took it as a judgment, even an accusation, like I was doing something wrong. This relationship didn’t go any further. I was young, in age and in relationship, we both were, and I like to think that by now I would be able to make less assumptions about what he meant, and ask him. In this story, neither of us continued our pursuits.

Still, it broke my heart and this very statement left a bruise I didn’t remember having until recently.

Back then,
being a ‘dreamer’ sounded childish and childish sounded wrong to me.

I grew up in our society that prefers knowledge-over-curiosity, reaching-goals-over-growing, facts-over-experience, and so I gently started to be more ‘adult’, more reasonable. I did more of the ‘right things’ and attempted to be less of a naïve dreamer.

At that I failed.

And of that failure I am proud! While I did get the decent job, the mortgage, the car… I kept dreaming up ways to fill my, what felt boringly mundane to me, life with colours and sparks.
Alongside my responsible job and life, I have studied and worked abroad, travelled the globe, volunteered, woofed, and learned how to be a coach, a group facilitator, a massage therapist, a yogi and most of all, I’ve met myself and my tribes and some of my strongest allies and best friends.
Now, more than ever, I stand firm in my grand belief that:

Dreams come true and magic is real!


None of any of this is news to me, however the dots connected in a Points of You workshop I attended recently.

Points of You Faces

Points of You Faces

Join me on a processing journey.

My Potential Me

We were doing a powerful process called ‘The Potential Me’, in which we travel through our past, present and potential.

Points of You works with photos and words, and our power to create from suggestion and perspective.

We may call it random, we may call it magic. All works for me.

Connect with a moment in the past

We were invited to connect with a moment in the past that was relevant to us. The past being a minute ago or a lifetime ago, or anywhere in-between.

Pur bonheur
I went back to the first moment I remember wording ‘pur bonheur’ out loud and feeling bliss. I was with my cousin on the banks of Lake Mead, on our road trip through the US South West in our very early twenties. We had just pitched our tent, the sun was about to set, the blue colour of the lake shimmered, the rocks and canyons were turning all shades of orange and pink. The sky was that deep blue before nightfall, and the stars were beginning to appear. I remember sounds of people talking and laughing on houseboats and campsites in the distance. Martine and me were sitting on the ground of our humble home for the night after a swim in the lake and I thought to myself ‘there is no place I’d rather be in this very moment’, and saying out loud ‘pur bonheur’. I don’t know why the French came to me, but it did.
It translates to pure bliss.

Choose a photo

With this feeling, we got to choose ONE photo card of a face from the 99 cards laid out, one that resonates with the moment we’d just travelled to.

I chose a picture of a young lady who looked free and happy-go-lightly, smiling openly and straight at the camera. Innocent, and in a way bold.

Yes, she represented the life-embracing young lady I was in that very moment at the lake.

Take a reflection

The next part of the process was to choose a reflection card that contains a word; they were facedown so, here begins the serendipity process of finding messages and meaning in pretty much anything that comes our way.

My card said ‘ROCKER’, it lit up my heart.

Of course the process asks us to associate the photo, the word and the memory of who we were, and yes, there was a rocker in me back then – that nugget of a rebel who said:

‘I’ll go travel the world and do my thing, even if it is frowned upon.’

She was full of opportunity and dreams back then.

We were working in pairs, and for the next step, we exchanged photo cards with our partners, then we exchanged partners, with whom we swapped reflection cards.

The present me

Through these two new cards, now both random, and we were looking at suggestions around our present selves.

I had been handed the photo of a middle-aged man for my present me.

He looked like a Crocodile Dundee in a way, an adventurer.

In the first moment my heart skipped a beat and I went to the place of seeing these cards as ‘oracles’ announcing what’s in store for me, and:

‘YES! This means he’s there, he’s coming, the man in my life and his love, the hero of my longings. Oh he’s gorgeous and outdoorsy, how beautiful! These cards are magic!’

But with a closer look I saw he was quite scruffy, like he doesn’t take care of himself. The look in his eyes, that look that was directed at the lens, so he was looking at me, that look was doubtful, impatient… maybe patronising. He looked bored and he did not invite me to confide in him, nor lean into him, as I do in my dreams.

He actually looked shut off, scarred without having attempted to heal…

In fact, he looked a lot like my most recent crush-went-lopsided and the heartbreak I’ve been healing: handsome with a good but hidden away heart, and: not very nice to me.

The question that came up for me in conversation with my partner in the process was that my present self may be focusing on something that is not right for me.

Maybe my desire for a loving partnership or a flourishing coaching practice needs a slight clean up, readjustment and refocus?

The reflection card

open up

open up

On the other hand, the reflection I was given said the word… ‘OPTIMIST’.
And yes, my current self is very aware that she is overwhelmed with opportunity, impatience, fear and she does get herself entangled in perspectives that don’t really feel all that great.
She is also, still, a passionate optimist.

‘There is always a silver lining in any cloud.’

This is still true to me, 20 years onwards from that vibrant young girl at the lake.

My Potential Me

A new photo swap, a new partner swap, a new reflection card swap. Here I was looking at invitations to my ‘Potential Me’.

Of the extremely diverse range of portraits available in the ‘Faces’ kit, the photo I was given, through no manipulation other than chance, was that of a young woman.
There was brightness in the picture. She is delightful, plain, fresh, authentic, not wearing any make-up. She has little drops or rays painted under her eyes, a nose piercing and big earring hoops; which makes her look a little hippie, or eccentric, and they add colour and uniqueness to her pure appearance.

She’s pretty, and she’s looking straight at the camera; she’s fierce, calmly confidently fierce. She is approachable, balanced, loving and focused. I realized that she looked a lot like the young woman I had chosen for my past self.

Oh the message to me was so clear!

Back then I knew who I was and how I wanted to be. Deep down I still know when I look forward.

What if I have just gotten a bit off track in my present?
What if the vision I hold for myself  feels heavy, difficult and doubtful at the moment because maybe I am focussing on the wrong thing, or looking at the right thing through a dirty lens?

My ‘potential me’ is basically my pure me: the girl I like to remember, the woman I see in myself. She is free spirited, happy-go-lucky, fierce and focused, beautiful and compelling. She has dreams, and she believes in them.

The reflection card I was handed for my Potential Me said ‘Dreamer’.

Connecting the dots.

As I connected the dots all the way back to that quite branding event so many years ago (which I only remembered at the very end of this process), and as I noticed that twinge inside me that wanted to defend myself and justify ‘dreaming’ once again upon receiving that very ‘Dreamer’ card, the very obvious became clear:

if others see me as a dreamer
it is because that is what I put out there.

More importantly: it is not a bad thing! Actually, when people who encourage growth and authenticity tell me that I am a dreamer, they say so with an excited spark in their eyes.

It is a powerful thing!

Dreaming is a fuel that has gotten me to everyday delights and surprising places so far, and I know it will keep fuelling me if I let it!

Dreamer

Dreamer! Do your thing, believe in yourself.

To the dreamer within I say: ‘Thank you’.

To my doubts I say: ‘Bury your weapons’, it is time.

The woman within my potential I whisper: ‘Put down that resistance that holds you back and dulls your spark. Do your thing, believe in yourself.’

Be alive.

To anyone having read this far I say: Travel! Travel the perspectives, and hold your own truth and potential precious – believe in what feels right.

Follow your heart, it somehow knows the way.

Connect the dots, and see your own stories unfold.

Love,

Laura x

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‘Trust in something (…), because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even if it leads you off the well worn path… and that will make all the difference.’

– Steve Jobs

Points of You: play the coaching game!

GoDeepFlyHigh is proud and happy to announce the addition of a new approach to our practice: Points of You – The Coaching Game.

a fun, deep and playful way to explore perspectives and ignite creativity in the  opportunities, within us and our circumstances.

Let’s play!


Points Of You – the Coaching Game

In a nutshell, we have a deck of cards that contain a photo and a word, or just a photo, or just a word, and we use them in random surprising, yet precise, ways to gain clarity on whatever topic is on the table for you.

By using photo and text, we connect with both our creative and our intellectual sides of our brains. And this already adds a perspective for those of us who tend to be more ‘head heavy’ and wanting to understand rather than feel.

Individual and group work

Follow your heart, it somehow already knows where it is going.

Follow your heart, it somehow already knows where it is going.

I am in the process of certifying as a Points of You Trainer for which I went on retreat in Oracle, Arizona.
Points of You is initially Israeli, and since its creation ten years ago has grown into a worldwide presence. A beautiful presence, as the fundamental wish is to open hearts everywhere… open hearts to consciously live dreams in peace.
This can sound slapstick hippie, but you know this is one of my deep beliefs too: we can find ways to suffer less than we often unconsciously accept. It is the personal work, the practice, and it is what matters when we embark on that journey. And this journey, this work, we do it ourselves, but we don’t have to do  it alone.

As a trainer, I am happy to offer workshops to groups and organisations, and as a coach I am now using this tool in individual sessions.

Click to play online for a taster!

This is but a sneak preview, there are countless ways of using The Coaching Game; I will facilitate you on your journey through whichever wonderland unfolds for you in the cards, then harvest insights and onwards actions for you from where it is you are.

Let’s play!

What good things are coming my way?

What good things are coming my way?

 

 

It’s loneliness and depression season, too.

T’is the season to be holly jolly, t’is the season to be hygge and comfy, t’is the season to cuddle up and be grateful, t’is the season for togetherness, t’is the season for family and friends… and because t’is that season in our day and age, t’is also the season in which our chronic stress and fatigue and overwhelm seem to get an extra load, and t’turns into the season of more busy than ever for so many of us. And while what I am about to write is no news, it may suggest even more weight to stress levels.

Friends, I’m asking for us to take time to take time to check up on each other – for in the midst of the hustle and bustle of glühwine, present-buying, house cleaning, project finishing, trip planning and grocery shopping, I am asking for us to STOP and make some house calls, too.


Two facebook posts that reflected my current state of emotions prompted me to write this.

One reminded me today that it is the season of depression and suicide, too.

It's depression and suicide season. Please be sure to check on people.

It’s depression and suicide season. Please be sure to check on people.

A quick wiki search to remind us on SAD: Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also called winter depression, winter blues, summer depression, and seasonal depression, is a mood disorder subset in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year exhibit depressive symptoms at the same time each year, most commonly in the winter.”

This post came me to on a particularly gloomy day, so it hit a nerve.

Yes, it is Winter, it is dark and cold where I am, it is Christmas with all the above-mentioned stressors and exciters and more… and it is also Sunday as I write. A beautiful day to retreat and cocoon, to spend time with family; a sacred day for many of us, when we get to focus on the people closest to us.

The flip side of Sunday is one I personally know well; the Sunday blues, which can be harshest for those of us who live alone. Even with a life and a phone-list full of people who love us and care for us, on family-cocooning days, those people who love us will be with their family, busy and cocooning. And as supportive as loving whatsapp messages are intended, they don’t replace actual presence or hugs.

And then there was this post on elephant journal, an online journal I follow… and it made me cry.

All I Want for Christmas is my Someone.

sometimes she wondered if there'd ever be anyone who would step in because they didn't want her to keep doing it all on her own.

sometimes she wondered if there’d ever be anyone who would step in because they didn’t want her to keep doing it all on her own.

“It’s those qualities and aspects of life that I’ve never experienced, and that always seem to remain just out of reach, that would truly make my heart sing. What I want is to feel the deliciousness of having someone have my back, someone to be that partner for me, someone I know I don’t even need to call in order for them to be there in the moments I need them the most.”

Yes, these could be my words.

Sometimes we just want someone to be there without having to ask anyone to be there… because, frankly, in the moments when we really need someone we often don’t even know WHO to ask.

I also think we forget that asking for help, or sheer presence, takes a lot of energy in itself – for in the days of chronic busy and priority setting, being given lists of very understandable and totally accepted reasons as to why someone has no time to be there for you is sometimes even more painful than the initial loneliness – and not asking in the first place reduces the risk of that additional setback.

Yes, ‘fear of failure has killed more dreams than failure itself ever will‘, of course, and on stronger days we will reach out and sometimes, often, someone will show up in the moment… but on the darker days it can just be about getting through them, and being told ‘I can’t be there for you but feel hugged’ hurts more than it helps. Which shouldn’t stop us from writing it, of course, we know the intention comes from love.

What struck my nerve more than the article itself, which warmed my heart as it is always comforting to read that maybe I’m not the only one, was a comment that someone posted below which said something along the lines of ‘We need to practice more self love‘.

And this is something we keep hearing, heck, I say it! As a coach, I even make it a purpose to work with people to practice self love… yet something in that comment on that article on the day that is today enraged me. It just sounded like another one of those smug comments we get a lot when we open up to our own vulnerability.

‘Stop waiting for ‘other’ to feel complete, learn to love yourself and you’ll never be alone.’

YES! Yes to that, AND… sometimes, even those of us who have learned to bathe in self-love, all we really want is to be seen without having to show.

We all crave human connection, it is how we are built, we are social creatures who have been taught to be self-sufficient and to stand strong.

‘Be the badass, you can do it!’. YES, yes I can, and I need a hug.

Let us remember to acknowledge that human connection and touch is actually necessary for survival (one of many google finds on the topic: Eight reasons why we need human touch more than ever ).

Even the most self-loving and happy-go-lucky among us won’t survive on our own hugs alone.

 

Everybody is responsible for their own happiness and survival, for sure. And we each have our own homework to do on and for ourselves, I’ll always hold that belief.

And I know there is no way we can save everyone.

I think what I am suggesting is for us to be extra vigilant…

Just look for the unsaid in a text message. We know the people in our lives, we know what they struggle with, we know who struggles with loneliness… despite busy lives and own struggles, let’s be aware. Maybe give each other the luxury of being a priority. Maybe give each other the surprise of being there without having been reached out to.

Maybe we can make a tiny adjustment to our busy days to leave enough space and time to be there for each other, even, or especially, spontaneously.

After all, t’tis the season to be jolly and together.

Let’s be in it together!

Love xxo

‘You don’t need to make a living out of everything you learn’

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My Disclaimer for laziness or permission to have fun?


I remember sitting poolside with my friend Romain at a crew hotel in Chennai in February 2016 – I was on the India part of my sabbatical leave from work, he was on a layover. He lived on Reunion Island at the time, I lived in Luxembourg, this was one of those serendipitous alignments of time and space for us to meet there and then.
And this is where he gave me one message I have been pondering and working with since.

‘You do not need to make a living out of everything you learn.’


Serendipity - when a friend shows up in a random place somewhere in the world with the exact right words at the exact right time

Serendipity – when a friend shows up in a random place somewhere in the world with the exact right words at the exact right time

See, I had just graduated from a one month yoga teacher training in Kerala.

I did this teacher training because I enjoyed yoga but found my actual practice unstable. I’ve defined myself as a somewhat ‘creative perfectionist’, which means I get excited by lots of things, and I hold myself back from doing things if I don’t know how to do them, or if I feel that they, or I, aren’t ready…

Perfectionism is a dream killer

Perfectionism is a dream killer – Facebook brought this quote to me in May 2013, I remember when and where I was, and I remember suddenly ‘getting’ it.

growth - when suddenly you find yourself inverted...

growth – when suddenly you find yourself inverted…

So the obvious thing to do if one doesn’t feel comfortable doing sun salutations alone in one’s living room is to take a few months off work, travel to India and learn all about the philosophy of yoga AND how to do the sun salutations… among many other moves and poses.
I now have a RYS – registered yoga school 200-hour yoga teacher certificate, I’ve done 108 sun salutations in a row more than once, I’ve massively evolved my practice and, like any true yogi…

I know that I know nothing.

However I do feel comfortable doing yoga in my living room now.

And while I didn’t have the intention to practice my yoga as a teacher, this certificate, coupled with witnessing my talented fellow training mates setting up courses around the world, did put out the evident questions: ‘What are you going to do with your new skills and knowledge? How are you going to share them?’ and of course:

‘How will you make money with your yoga?’
(at least enough to cover the training costs)

AS soon as I was home and full of fresh elan and deep desire to touch people with my newfound gift, I went out and bought yoga mats and blocks. Then it all slowed down when I had to do the stuff that I don’t enjoy, I half-heartedly researched what one needs ‘to do legally’ to be a teacher in Luxembourg (insurance? taxes?…) and thought about suitable locations and timings that align with my day job, it would be a bit of a struggle. Typical doubts came in as well, ‘so many people are such better yogis with way more experience than me’… and soon enough, my drive had quite organically… frizzled away, and my efforts on this project halted.

For a while I beat myself up as being lazy and purposeless for not setting up my school, which seems to be the accepted response: ‘If you’re not working hard, you’re lazy.’

But that attitude of guilt really didn’t help me with my drive or creativity, and I’ve really worked hard at taking myself out of circumstances that made me feel ‘not good enough’.

SO what was going on here?

I enjoyed the yoga, I enjoyed the teaching… why wasn’t I doing it?

It started to dawn on me that maybe I plain enjoy the learning; it extends my horizons and my friend network, it colours my experience and fills my storytelling… and mostly, it gets my pride buzzing.

““Happiness,” wrote Yeats, “is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that, but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing.”
Contemporary researchers make the same argument: that it isn’t goal attainment but the process of striving after goals—that is, growth—that brings happiness.”
Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project

Figure out what makes you happy - and do it!

Figure out what makes you happy – and do it!

One reads about these things – and I read this particular book in 2013, and many similar ones since – but the claims only really land when one truly feels them. And to me, this has been proving true.

I get a kick out of learning new stuff.

So here I was in Southern India, my curiosity was fed and… my curiosity was hungry for more.

See, there is a leadership model on stages of competence. It was brought to me on Day One of my coach training in November 2012.
1 – Unconscious incompetence‘I don’t know what I don’t know.’
(if I don’t know it’s out there, I can’t miss it)
2 – Conscious incompetence‘I know what I don’t know.’
(I know it’s out there, but I don’t have the competence of is – such as speaking a language; I know I don’t speak Japanese)
3 – Conscious competence‘I know what I know.’ (I speak and write English)
4 – Unconscious competence‘I intuitively know what I know.’
(when I drive my car I mostly don’t even realise that I am shifting gears when I do)

Where I was personally just then, in India in February 2016,

the Yoga Teacher Training had given me a taster for the intricacy that is the human body, and the magic that is the art of healing through connecting body, mind and soul.

My coaching and leadership skills had me dive into the often underused realms of mental power, and here I was now in front of this other thing we all have – and don’t seem to use to its full potential either: our body!

And I was suddenly very aware of how little I knew about the human body and anatomy.

Conscious incompetence is a driver for me…

Thoughts came up around taking up nursing, or medicine. I shared them with my dear Auntie Pam weeks before she passed away and at her hospital bed. She’d always been an eager supporter of my craziness, and I remember her whispering to me ‘You’d make a lovely nurse.‘ She would also always repeat to me that ‘it would be a shame if you didn’t use your skills, you are so talented.‘ She was, and still is, one of my angels and teachers, bless her (Read my post ‘Meandering about in Wonderland‘ for my thoughts on who we meet and why).
I’d often thought I’d quite like to know more about the caring side of humanity. I’d, actually, often seen myself as a flying doctor out in a faraway adventurous bush somewhere someday, though I am neither pilot nor doctor – I am a flight attendant and a mental coach, however, similar paths I say.

Back to my thought process at hand; because over time a lot of my most inspiring yoga teachers had also given little neck, head and foot massages during Savasana, and yoga retreats often include massage treatments, massage therapy seemed to be a rather logical next step for me, and most reachable as an introduction to human anatomy in the immediate present.

Also, massage is a very daily normal thing in India, like yoga, it is a part of the omnipresent Ayurvedic living.

And I was in India, massage was everywhere and so the flirt with massage began.

Once again, the thought alone on the rational level brought me further off whatever my track was:
I’d kind of left the normal track when I left the corporate job (and potential-yet-not-happening career) to become a flight attendant, and then some more when I left a full-time job for a part-time job, and then some more when I started spending my non-work time and my savings on learning, and getting certified in, new random things such as photography, diving, coaching, leadership, yoga…

And the saboteur voice in me, you know, that voice of reason, and that voice that says ‘be rational’, ‘this is not safe!’, ‘what will people say?’, ‘you’re not good enough’, ‘what are you thinking?’, ‘why?’ and ‘you’re weird!’ was yelling: ‘how about setting up your coaching and leadership training practice before starting something new again? And how about teaching yoga after that? What are you hiding from when you hide in your trainings?’ And the loudest ever ‘you do all these things but you don’t get anything done!

And this is exactly the conversation I had with Romain in Chennai, when he looked at me with the love that only someone who sees right through you and knows and cherishes exactly what dreams and depths you have and he said to me:

‘What makes you think you need to make a job or a living out of these trainings and certificates?
What if you do these things because they are fun and you enjoy the learning part of them?’

This perspective is one I have been pondering since, and it has given me a lot of freedom.

See, I have a feeling we all talk a lot about ‘being in the moment’ and ‘following our heart’, yet we live more ‘rationally’ (a word I have actually banned from my vocabulary because it means little to me now, that is another story) – I have a feeling we make up a lot of our limitations by glorifying society-rules and self-invented rules around what is the accepted norm for ‘safety’ (that job that pays the bills) and how to ‘spend time’ (make sure it is useful and you can make money off it).

I will not disrespect the luxury of knowing where the next meal comes from or knowing that I have a roof over my head and a blanket on my bed. I am not talking about the very basics of survival and comfort, however I will always and again challenge what we think is all-important and that stops us from living out just for the sake of living.

I found a bodyworks training school, Jing Advanced Massage Therapy. In Brighton. It was recommended to me by one of my yoga holiday organisers, AdventureYogi. Encounters, encounters.

Practicing the healing touch

Practicing the healing touch

The school was brilliant, right up my alley. I signed up for a 10-day initiation called Bodyworks Beginnings, and yes, oh, that healing touch is a gift – not only is it a gift, it is something we all have if only we gave it some attention and space.

A bit like what I thought when I began my coaching track, and anything I find brilliant, I kept wondering:

‘Why isn’t everyone doing this? It would make the world such a nicer place if we all knew this!’

One thing led to another, they always do, I continued the Advanced Clinical Massage Training for treatment of chronic pain, again, not because I intended to make a business of it, but because it sheer interested me; and I enjoyed the courses, I loved coming home to a family I hadn’t known I had once a month for a year, and I got a right kick out of being local in Brighton for a while.

I trained alongside a group of brilliant and practicing therapists in Brighton, and some of my most encouraging and brave friends and family members accepted to be my practice clients at home. I enjoyed it all, and I took and succeeded all the courses.

The courage to ‘not finish’

When the time came to get ready for the final exam, I was called to check in with myself on what my priorities were… while the training was hands-on and about showing up, the exam really did require a lot of studying, i.e. home-time invest. Acknowledging that I was still not intent on building my own business around it just now, that my actual practice had not allowed me to apply my learnings in between courses, that my job was full-on at the time, and I had committed to a rather big trip just before the exam: I dropped out.

Just before the end, I dropped out. I did not take the exam.
I do not have the final certificate.

Can you hear the voices of guilt and shame and… disappointment chanting?

And this is when I remembered, once again, you do not need to make a living out of everything you learn. You do not need a certificate to prove anything to anyone (unless, of course, you do, in which case the circumstances change and: I can still take that exam).

On a street in Brighton: What did I miss? And: what did I choose?

On a street in Brighton: What did I miss? And: what did I choose?

The reactions I got to this choice reflected every single thought that banged about my head.
They always will.

There will always be a good reason and argument for any single thing we do because Life is full of missed opportunities.

As I wrote in my article on this very thought:

“Every single moment in this, our, life is an opportunity.

So if that is the truth, whatever we decide to do is a YES to one opportunity and a NO to another.

We can’t be everywhere at the same time, therefore life IS, indeed, filled with missed and taken opportunities.”

Had I only gone by ‘do I want to be a massage therapist now?’ I would never have embarked on this journey, and I would have missed out on a lot of fun, new friends, new skills and that glorious growth that has me buzz!
I preferred doing it my way, i.e. doing it anyway, to be honest, and I just can’t help but wonder how many of us are not doing things we might enjoy, that may lead to somewhere, or not, just because ‘it isn’t sensible’. How many of us take up studies because ‘it is the right thing to do and will lead to a good job’ versus fuelling creativity?

Once again, and always, I remember Steve Jobs’ thought:

‘Trust in something (…), because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even if it leads you off the well-worn path… and that will make all the difference.’

And as my favourite author and creative-critical life contemplator Elizabeth Gilbert points out in her book Big Magic, I’m not suggesting we let go of all things we consider security; keep something going that pays the bills, so that we can feed the creativity and fun-lover in us without pressuring THEM to have to pay the bills.

But: keep feeding the creativity and fun-lovers within, just because!

The dots will connect in hindsight, and for the very least, we get a kick from the growth and so many colourful magic moments on the way.

All of this is mere food for thought, as always, an ongoing process. One day, maybe, I will open that school and sanctuary – it is still not entirely off the bucket list.

Love x

Stretching that comfort zone in Swedish Lapland

If you keep stretching the limits of your comfort zone, I guess it is inevitable that one day you find yourself at the start line of a 110km hike through Swedish lapland with an 18kg backpack strapped to your back…

I invite you to my travel website www.lauraschummer.com to join me on My Big Walk.

Oh stretch that comfort zone

time flies, best fill it with moments to remember

Life is full of missed opportunities – get over it!

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just.decide.

there are opportunities everywhere. just.decide.

So this morning I cancelled my participation at an event I really wanted to go to at the end of the week – it was riddled with opportunities for me on many levels. The thing was, as I was looking into getting myself there, arranging the intricacies of travel and going through all the things I’d have to ‘have done’ by then, ladidadidah-you-know-the-chatter, I felt a tingling sense of nausea that I have come to listen to… something wasn’t right, and my gut said so.

And, just like that, I knew I wasn’t going to go.

And just like that, I let go of countless opportunities I will never know I had.


I’ll use this example to elaborate a new thinking that has been building up in me. Taking decisions is not something I’ve always been assertive at, I still find it a workout. Because, for one, it means I am letting a someone, or something, down, either it is myself, or another, or everyone… for another it is because of the opportunities I may be missing.

Monkey mind going haywire

That is the hard part, that of overruling my chorus of inner voices that is loud and chirping at best of times, and starts frantically shouting at me in the run-up to taking a decision – because of course, there are as many great reasons FOR doing something as there are for not.

I also like to see myself as a pacifist, and as such I have a tendency to listen to all the voices that come at me, yes, I believe in finding peaceful alignment, always. I apply this to my inside voices even more than to the outside ones – and there is often somewhat of a cacophony in my mind yelling perspectives and possibilities at me at all times.

They all have a point!

The bottom-line is: I am the boss lady.

I have that great executive responsibility of listening to what is useful and taking the lead in action that best serves us all, the voices, me and my good self.

Pretty much at the same time as I was deliberating with my monkey mind on my big decision, I had a conversation with a friend, who was ‘not feeling’ an event she was supposed to go to, either – I bluntly suggested: ‘don’t go’, to which she replied ‘but I hate missed opportunities‘.

And just then, a penny dropped in me.
It was this little statement that I’ve heard and said a million times before that suddenly, today, had me come to a new conclusion and that I will be trying on for a little while:

‘Life is FULL of missed opportunities.’

In any given moment, we could be in a whole other place. I can be in my home building my business or lying lazily on my couch, just as much as I could be on a safari in Zanzibar, or anywhere in between – whatever I do can be just as real and as important to me as anything else would and could be.

See, a while back on my, for lack of a better word, journey through life I started exploring the attitude of searching for the silver lining in every thing.

Whatever happens to us, whatever the circumstance, we have the power to make it worth while.

In the best of cases we are showered with an abundance of successes and magic, and in other cases, the best we can do is find a learning, grab it, drop the rest and move on.

And in living in that belief, I have come to understand that

every single moment in this our life is an opportunity.

So if that is the truth, whatever we decide to do is a YES to one opportunity and a NO to another.

We can’t be everywhere at the same time, therefore life IS, indeed, filled with missed opportunities.

Regret – concept deleted!

“Maybe, if I’d taken a left instead of a right, I would have met the man of my dreams and we’d be living happily ever after by now?”

Over time, I’ve come to decide that regret is one of the most useless feelings we can have.
Regret not only holds us in the past, feeling miserable, it also impacts our power in the present as we make huge efforts to dodge potential future regrets.

There is no way of knowing what could have been ‘had I only…’; for one, there are innumerable possible ‘had I only…’ options and dwelling in those thoughts serves no apparent purpose.

Trust that synchronicities will happen when they need to happen, the universe and its energies have our back – all we need to do is follow the heart and stay alert.


So here’s my new statement, which I share while I shall keep exploring it myself:

1 -Just.Decide.

Learn to listen to your heart and gut, follow them, they really do know the way. Make your decision, make it right for yourself in the moment, and own it. You are the boss lady, or man!

2 -Be in the moment as fully as you can.

Live the moment. Make the most of where you are, learn from it, and find and seize the opportunity you are in: embrace it with love, gratitude and creativity, as I like to say, ‘magic lies in the simplicity of appreciation’.

3 – And: let go.

Let go of what coulda-shoulda-woulda been.

Yes, life is full of missed opportunities, get over it.

And keep moving.